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Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume XII, Part II (1899)

Jones, Edward D.
Chartism -- a chapter in English industrial history,   pp. [509]-529 PDF (6.3 MB)


Page 528


Jones- Chartism.
It aimed to reinstate that ancient condition in which the nobility
were the friends, advisors, and leaders of the people. The agi-
tation for universal suffrage was carried on with moderation by
two influential societies formed after 1848; The People's League
for Manhood Suffrage and The People's Party of Parliamentary
Reform.   The great hobby proposed as a counter influence
by the opponents of Chartism, during its later stages, was for-
eign colonization. The London Times, the Glasgow Daily Mail,
Blackwood's 1Iagazine, and other influential publications urged
the colonization of Canada and other English possessions. When
the government was making arrests in the latter part of 1848,
some of the Physical Force leaders personally took up with
this idea with amazing alacrity.
  Chartism shows us that movements for reform which begin in
the lower orders of society, are often born of physical misery,
and progress or recede as that fluctuates. The things agitated
for in campaigns so begun have often little connection with the
causes of the afflicting evils. Chartism shows us, as does many
another popular agitation, the results which always follow from
a lack of competent leadership. Several of the leaders of Phys-
ical Force Chartism were suspicioned, on good grounds, to have
been insane. When the intelligent classes are arrayed upon one
side and the ignorant upon the other, even though the latter
may be numerically very strong, they cannot hope for perma-
nent success. Popular movements often make the mistake of
defying rather than attempting to educate and conciliate their
non-sympathisers. Narrow minds proverbially overestimate the
differences that exist between individuals and classes because
of a failure to grasp fully enough the idea of a common human
nature. Chartismn opened the eyes of England to the fact that
the upper classes owe a duty of intelligent leadership and as-
sistance to those among whom they live. Any criticism of the
Chartists for confounding liberty and license strikes baek against
the classes who failed to see that power and rank and wealth
imply duty. Chartism demonstrated the solidarity existing be-
tween social reforms. An advance in politics, economics, edu-
cation, or religion depends in a measure upon the status of each
of the others, and each feels an impulse from an advance in any
532 8


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